How To Treat Erythrasma?

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By Dr. Shruti Kohli, Dermatology

Erythrasma is a form of skin disease where brown, scaly patches are formed on the skin. This disease is caused by the Gram-positive bacterium known as Corynebacterium minutissimum. This form of skin disease occurs among diabetic patients and obese people. This disease is more common in warm climates.

Usually, the border of an erythrasma infection is well-defined and there is a sharp border present between the affected area and the normal skin. Initially, the scaly patches are red or pink in color, which gradually turn brown.

This infection usually appears in the folds of the skin in the groin and inner thigh region, under arms and in between the toes.


The common symptoms of erythrasma include:

  1. The skin turns dry and pink and reddish-brown, and scaly patches appear.
  2. Itching and burning sensation is experienced.
  3. Headaches, tiredness, swelling in body and weight gain are indicated.
  4. Abdominal, chest and joint pain occur along with pain in the urinary tract.
  5. Sometimes, this disease develops in the crevice of the buttocks and in folds under the breasts in women.


  1. Erythrasma can be diagnosed by a physician by looking carefully at the affected area. In certain cases, a Wood’s lamp is required. This device shines UV light on the skin and helps the doctor to examine the skin disease. Some areas can be scraped with a tiny blade by the doctor in order to collect samples. These samples are tested in the laboratory to determine the exact diagnosis.
  2. You must scrub the patches on your skin with an anti- bacterial soap as this would help in subsiding the rash or infection. Gels and oral medication must be prescribed by your doctor.
  3. Topical antibiotic lotions, like erythromycin and clindamycin should be applied to the affected area for proper healing.
  4. A solution of aluminum chloride can be used, which helps in inhibition of sweating and moisture.
  5. Whitfield’s ointment, an ointment composed of benzoic acid and salicylic acid, can be used.
  6. Several oral antibiotics such as clarithromycin are also effective.
  7. The goal of these medicines is to get rid of the infection and prevent further complications. Antibacterial products eliminate the bacteria.
  8. Photodynamic therapy can be used to cure erythrasma using red light. Rashes are also treated this way.

You must follow these tips for prevention of erythrasma:

  1. Try to maintain a proper weight and hygiene.
  2. Stay away from excessive heat and moisture.
  3. Use antibacterial soaps.
  4. Use erythromycin gels.
  5. Use antibiotics in case of extreme infections.

Erythrasma is a skin disease which is caused by harmful bacteria. It affects the skin in the form of scaly patches, and proper treatment should be taken to cure this disease.